03-10-2003

Politicians in fighting poses appear on several front pages today: there's a big photo of President Vaclav Klaus on the front page of MLADA FRONTA DNES, to illustrate a story on the forthcoming inter-governmental conference on the future of Europe, which he's not going to. LIDOVE NOVINY meanwhile features rough-and-ready rebel MP Petr Kott, the man who may or may not have been paralytic in parliament last week.

Mr Kott, an MP for the Civic Democrats, is shown sporting two black eyes and some cuts and bruises which he claims he obtained falling down the stairs. But he looks more like he's done 12 rounds with Mike Tyson, and LIDOVE NOVINY speculates on the real cause of his injuries.

The paper reports that rumours are circulating in Mr Kott's home town of Doksy that he was involved in a punch-up in his local pub. Mr Kott will return to parliament on Tuesday. "I don't really want to, to be honest. I mean, look at the state of me," he told LIDOVE NOVINY. The MP infuriated his party last week by missing a crucial vote, allegedly because he was drunk.

The speaker of the lower house, Lubomir Zaoralek, has responded to the Kott incident, says MLADA FRONTA DNES, by banning the sale of alcohol in the parliament snack bar. The snack bar - located just a few steps from the debating chamber - used to sell everything from beer to hard spirits. No longer, says the paper.

Mr Zaoralek originally wanted a parliamentary committee to discuss a ban on alcohol. But it soon became clear that many MPs were against the idea, and the lower house speaker predicted a lengthy and unseemly debate on the matter. "So I just went ahead and banned it myself," he tells MLADA FRONTA DNES.

Moving on to PRAVO, and reports that David Zelezny, son of the former head of TV Nova, Vladimir Zelezny, is in a critical condition in hospital after being attacked outside his home by a man wielding a baseball bat. A police spokeswoman said the motive for the assault was a personal dispute and declined to give any more details.

However the tabloid BLESK has been digging deeper into the story, and claims the attacker was in fact David Zelezny's brother-in-law. The paper says relations between David Zelezny and his wife Marketa have not been good for some time, claiming he sometimes beats her. Marketa Zelezna's brother apparently decided to give David Zelezny some of his own medicine, reports BLESK. David Zelezny is no stranger to controversy - in 2000 he was sent to prison for rape.

03-10-2003